24. January, 2020

GDPR/CCPA: The effect of data privacy on digital marketing

Author avatar
Marina Dolcic
Content Marketer @ Morningscore.io

Having to deal with General Data Protection Regulation (or GDPR for short) for close to 2 years now, businesses operating within the bounds of the EU or those that offer services/goods to residents of EU are well seasoned in the field of data privacy. Now another law has come in effect on the other side of the globe.

The California Consumer Privacy Act, called “GDPR light” by its author, went into effect on January 1st 2020.

How does GDPR compare to CCPA?

When comparing GDPR vs CCPA compliance, there is one big difference. The GDPR is all about the user giving consent before their data is gathered (opt-in) and the CCPA is about giving the user the option to take that consent back (opt-out). In essence, they are both about transparency and the user’s right to know what personal information is being collected and what it is being used for.

The CCPA could be just a testing ground for the US market. Soon we might be seeing many other US states joining in with regulations or laws of their own. And then it’s just a matter of time before more countries around the world join in.

Marketing is anything but static

The digital era has completely changed the face of marketing. Both the number of businesses and the number of users present online is growing. Big companies have been tracking user behavior and using these insights in their marketing efforts for years and the small “fish” are beginning to catch on.

Tracking online behavior of their consumers, a company can consistently work on optimizing the content and serve it to the right person at the right time. Buyers intent can be determined and used to deliver personalized ads and create a personal shopping experience. This is what gives smaller businesses the competitive edge on big companies, that would otherwise beat them senseless in the mass media marketing game.

But with GDPR and CCPA coming into the picture digital marketers are handicapped, right? Surely, it is much more difficult to gather data now?

In terms of user behavior data, the answer is “No, not really”.

How many times have you come to a website, seen a cookie consent pop up and just turned around and clicked close? After the initial annoyment with all the pop ups and opt ins, the users have got into the rut of “Yeah, yeah, just take my data and give me my content”.

Email marketing is a different case though. Gone are the days of sending cold emails en masse. Do we really miss them, though? Compared to lead generation campaigns, where we use personalized messages aimed at users that are actually interested in what you have to say, it seems like such a waste of time and energy.

What about SEO?

Another field GDPR had a positive influence on is SEO. The initial panic about the limitations of GDPR made marketers and business owners turn to alternative inbound channels, including SEO. This spiked interest means an increase of business for SEO experts, better content and improved website quality for the users and more content creators joining in to share their experiences and view on SEO with business owners and marketers.

Let’s be honest. Panic and doom-saying sells better and attracts more clicks, which certainly explains all the negativity surrounding GDPR and now also the CCPA. But in retrospect, GDPR has and still is changing digital marketing for the better.

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